By Aymun Sajid
I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way. And I still often forget it. Perhaps reminding you will help me remind myself.
There are two ways to deal with a problem.
The first one is the path I originally took (and one I still struggle to leave). You can ignore your trial. Fake it till you make it (or, hah, even if you don’t). And why won’t you ignore it? There are thousands and thousands of distractions available, the best one being a 4.7 inch wide glass screen we all seem to have available in our pockets.
We can drown. Drown, deep, deep into just chatting, binge-watching, basically just looking for the dopamine hit. Or picking up any other activity and getting lost in it. Just feeding our nafs, nurturing it only, and forgetting all about our Ruh. This can cause horrible results – ruining our sleep schedules, messing up our nutritional intakes, and worst of all, breaking our Imaan.
Think for a moment about what godless people turn to. Drugs, alcohol, haram relationships…it actually is the end of the same road. Chasing after any spec of comfort, any distraction they can find.
Imagine if someone has a ticking time bomb in their car’s trunk, and they know there’s a time bomb in their car’s trunk, and the strategy they decide to adopt is…ignore it. Turn on loud music and start headbanging. Start pretending it’s not there, because that would be too stressful.
Crazy as it may sound, unfortunately, that is the strategy I and many others always adopt when faced with depression and anxiety. But distractions are just an extremely temporary breather. They never actually solve the problem. Not even a tiny bit. So whether the music stops or not, that bomb’s gonna blow the car to smithereens anyway. In the same way, at the end of the day, when the noise dies down and the lights fade away, you’re left with that same old problem on your shoulders, crushing you.
And when that darkness becomes too heavy to bear, and the distractions stop working, we curl up in a corner and cry ourselves to sleep. Or message long rants to some close friend, trying to lighten our hearts. Yet all that heavy weight never budges, still clouding our minds, breaking our hearts.
If only we knew how to put it down.
Imagine Allah Ta’ala watching us. Imagine Him Saying, “Why, O slave? Why are you running to the creation? Why are you seeking comfort in these hollow worldly distractions? Why do you sit and cry all alone? Why do you nurse your bruised and broken heart all alone? Come to Me. Cry to Me. Come and put your burden down in front of Me, O servant! Can you not see I am Waiting? Can you not see I am always Listening?”
When you make dua, you take those boulders off your shoulders, one by one. You cry out all your troubles to the One who never gets tired, to the One who will never turn you back, who will never get sick of hearing your troubles. And once you finally put them down, you realize: oh. THAT’S how I was supposed to get rid of these. That’s how I was supposed to put them down.
Make dua. Try it.
It actually works.